Professor Graeme Henderson

B.Sc.(Glas.), MA, Ph.D.(Aberd.), Hon FBPhS, FRSB

  • BS8 1TD

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Research interests

Our research is aimed at understanding the lethality of opioid drugs such as heroin, methadone and fentanyl in opioid overdose and how their lethality (through depression of respiration) can be enhanced by other drugs such as alcohol and gabapentinoids.

Prolonged use of opioids results in the development of tolerance whereby the effect of the drug (euphoria or respiratory depression) is reduced and more drug must be taken to induce the original level of effect. We have demonstrated that the mechanisms underlying tolerance may be different for different opioids and that alcohol and gabapentinoids lower heroin but not methadone tolerance.

We use a reverse translational approach whereby we interview heroin users to find out their views on the dangers of opioid overdose and how that may be altered by other drugs. We then perform controlled laboratory experiments to examine the cellular mechanisms underlying such interactions.

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